Gatlinburg is one of my favorite places to vacation to! It's not too far, and there's so much to do! 

There's so much to do in the Smoky Mountains that it can be a bit overwhelming, I'm here to help you narrow down what to do, with five must do things on your next Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge vacation!

Personally, I'm a bigger fan of staying in Gatlinburg than I am Pigeon Forge, just because I think Gatlinburg has a more mountain town feel, whereas Pigeon Forge feels more touristy. The good news is, you can stay in either one and the other is just short driving distance.

Here's 5 things you HAVE to do when you're in the Gatlinburg area!

1) Moonshine & Wine tastings!

Google Maps

On the strip there's all kinds of moonshine distilleries and wineries, I highly recommend checking them out! Not only do you get to sample delicious moonshine and wine, it's cheap entertainment too.

2) Ober Gatlinburg

Photos by Tess Austin

You HAVE to see Ober Gatlinburg! You take this awesome tram up a mountain which in itself is worth the trip up, the views you see going up the mountain above the tree tops are just stunning. Once you get up there, there's so much to do! We took a ski lift up Mt. Harrison and got to see the view from 3,590 ft it was just incredible views, plus they had a band up top playing mountain music, it's just a cool sight. Then on the way down we stopped about halfway and rode the Alpine Slide down the rest of the way. If you like a fun adrenaline kick, you have to ride the Alpine Slide! But even if you aren't brave enough for the slide, just the views alone are worth taking the ski lift up and back down.  Pictured above I've got the mountain view, the tracks for the Alpine slide, the mountain band, the ski lift view, the Mt. Harrison elevation sign, and a shot of the giant tram you take up the mountain to Ober Gatlinburg.

3) Hiking trails

Laurel Falls hike/Melissa 103 GBF

While in Gatlinburg my husband and I did a few different hiking trails, we did the Chimney Tops and Laurel Falls.  I don't have any pictures from the Chimney Tops due to the fact that it rained that day so it was a cloudy not pretty view from the mountain top, and it's definitely a longer hike, 2 miles up and 2 miles down. The good news is the 2 miles down go way faster than the trip up! But the pictures I've seen of how the view is supposed to look when it's not cloudy were stunning, so it's definitely one I'd do again on a clear day. As for Laurel Falls it's a much easier hike than the Chimney Tops as it's 2.6 miles round trip, and mostly paved.  It also didn't seem as steep as Chimney Tops (but that could have all been mental, I have nothing to back that up). Laurel Falls ends at a beautiful water fall, and on the way up has some seriously stunning mountain views. Pictured above are all from the Laurel Falls hike.

4) Zip Lining

Me and my husband in our zip lining gear!

We went zip lining and it was a blast! I don't have any photos of our view, because well I was hanging from a carabiner  from a line over mountains haha! There's a ton of places to go zip lining in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. We just searched for best places to zip line and picked the ones that had openings the day we wanted to go.

5) Cades Cove

Cades Cove photos (Melissa/GBF)

Cades Cove is an 11 mile one-way loop through Cades Cove that you can drive through and see all kinds of stuff at your leisure. It's a great inexpensive way to spend a few hours.  Plus you can see wild life, beautiful mountain views, and you can tour old churches and buildings too. It's just a really cool experience that you can do at your leisure. Not to mention they also have hiking trails where you can pull off and hike to see different sights as well.

Melissa/GBF

Here's just a few suggestions if you're going to Gatlinburg anytime soon. There really is so much to do. In fact one of my husband and I's favorite things to do when we go to Gatlinburg is walk the strip. Each night we'd go down to the strip, get dinner and walk around all the shops.  Go up in the space needle at night and see the strip all lit up, it's a stunning view that no photo I took quite captured the beauty of, so I'll have to let you see that one for yourself! So not matter what you do, whether you're an adventure seeker, or someone who likes to sit at their cabin and take in the view while sipping on some wine (or moonshine we don't judge) you really can't go wrong.  We spent equal amounts of time adventuring and hanging out at the cabin taking it easy and just taking in the beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains.